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The Collector: How to Make Clothes That Fit and Flatter

Today I’m sharing another gem from my collection, a book by one of my very favorite sewing authors, the late Adele P. Margolis.

I know that many of us struggle with issues of fit. And while there are some fantastic modern books dedicated to the subject of fit, How to Make Clothes That Fit and Flatter does a fantastic job of breaking down the issue of fit in a clear way.

One of the reasons I love books by Adele Margolis is that she doesn’t simply address the what, but also addresses the why. She doesn’t just tell you how to fix a bad fit. She tells you how dart control works and how fullness and ease work, so that you can really grasp what’s going on with your clothes.

She discusses a range of topics, from sizing systems to pattern alteration to choosing the right style. And with headings like “sewers make impossible demands of themselves”, how could you not love this woman?

And of course, there are the illustrations.

How can anyone resist those breezy, chic late 60s styles? Take me there!

Check this book out on amazon. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Sarai Mitnick


Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.



November 2, 2012 #

I love this book! I love it for the information as much as for the 60ies inspiration:-)


November 2, 2012 #

Just ordered it–thanks so much for the tip!


November 2, 2012 #

That looks like a great book! And I kinda wonder if the cheeky seller who’s offering the only “new” one for the bargain price of $499 has seen your post and is now expecting a dramatic rise in demand? :D


November 2, 2012 #

Ha! I’ve actually learned a bit about this (when my own book was briefly on amazon for $1000+). It’s just automated algorithms that sometimes set these crazy high prices when there aren’t a lot of copies available.


November 2, 2012 #

I have this book in my collection. It is a treasure, and I read it from cover to cover. Great book.


November 2, 2012 #

i LOVE this book! your sewing handbook, the vogue sewing book, and how to make clothes that fit and flatter were some of the best resources i found and used to make my first great fitting dress. she really does explain the ‘why’, which i found incredibly helpful. plus, the sassy writing… so fabulous!


November 2, 2012 #

I do chuckle (ironically) at the ‘chubbie’ picture in the sizes guide. I have lots of 1930s-1940s women’s magazines and groan every time I see a knitting pattern for a ‘matronly woman’ (think maybe an inch or so over slim!). Although looking at old photos there were chunkier women around. What did they wear?


November 2, 2012 #

I put my hand over the descriptions of the sizes, and had my husband come in. I asked him which one he thought was the “chubbie”. He said the “Um.. maybe the fourth? They all look the same, just different heights.” Then we laughed and laughed that it was supposed to a representation on all the different sizes of women and girls. Ha ha ha.


November 2, 2012 #

Haha, yes… I notice this also in the old Sears catalogs from the 30s.

Tiffany W

November 2, 2012 #

Thank you for the recommendation. My focus for the next year is on fitting my garments correctly. I picked up a copy today. I look forward to reading it.


November 2, 2012 #

I love Adele P. Margolis. I have her “Make Your Own Dress Patterns”, and it was one of the first books that helped me “get it” with pattern alterations.


November 2, 2012 #

Tried to download on the Espresso press, but sadly not available. Did find more information about her on the internet, and she sounds like a fascinating person. Guess it’s going to have to be Amazon.


November 2, 2012 #

I’ve only gone and bought this …. blown my sewing budget but looking forward to feeling like i know everything about fit !

Rachel W.

November 2, 2012 #

I’ve had this book for awhile, and I LOVE it. I found it at a Goodwill a couple of years ago for a buck, and thought “This looks interesting. What could it hurt?” I wound up adoring it, and it’s one of my go-to books for fit. That one and ‘Fit for Real People’ are two of my favorites. There’s a couple other books by the author that I want to get eventually. She does such great descriptions, and I love her writer’s voice. It makes reading such dry material all the more enjoyable. You know you’ve found a sewer’s gold mine when you can laugh while reading about broadening the shoulders in a pattern.


November 2, 2012 #

All of Adele Margolis’s books are wonderful. I know that some of them have been republished by Dover Books and are available inexpensively (I think it’s the pattern drafting one whose name escapes me at the moment, plus maybe some others).

Megan Rose

November 2, 2012 #

I’m wary to trust the advice from someone who labels someone chubby who obviously isn’t. I mean, it might be good advice for someone who isn’t chubby, but it sounds like when it comes to actual chubby girls, she won’t know what she’s talking about.


November 2, 2012 #

I literally bought this book on Amazon last night after trying to figure how to adjust for a swayback! I have two of Adele’s books. She writes wonderfully. I saw the $400 version and tried to stay clear of that one!


November 2, 2012 #

I own of APM’s books, and use them heavily. She’s especially good for pattern drafting and alterations for plus sizes.


November 2, 2012 #

I have several of Adele’s books and I love them! This is a good one to start a collection with!


November 3, 2012 #

That is a lovely book. Mid to late 60s is my favorite vintage style, so I was soaking up those illustrations!


November 3, 2012 #

Love the book! Such beautiful illustrations.


November 4, 2012 #

I also love this book. And remind people that we really must put Ms. Margolis’ outlook & terminology directly in the time she was writing – it certainly should not be criticized from today’s “enlightened” standpoint. Just think how our own attitudes & mores will appear half a century from now. That being off my matronly chest, I enjoy her voice & lessons. It feels like I’m having a visit with auntie, who makes me smirk, while she gives a wink. I read it as much for her entertaining chats as for the information. Thanks for bringing this book out for us to see.

laura k

November 5, 2012 #

You can also find this book at a library: It looks like it’s fairly widely held. And if your library doesn’t have it, you can probably request it via interlibrary loan.


November 6, 2012 #

I love the illustrations! Thanks for the recommendation!


November 8, 2012 #

I find the figures chart particularly fascinating…it seems outdated given the obesity crisis that we’re experiencing today. None of those women in the chart are remotely overweight…not even ‘chubbie.’ Even in 1969, weren’t there some overweight women who liked to sew? I can count on one hand the women I knew in my life who were overweight while I was growing up (up through, say about college). I’ve no idea if they sewed, but it’s likely they did given that many women did sew garments to save $.


November 12, 2012 #

Amazon has this book for $400+. Does anyone know if there is a site to order a more inexpensive copy of this book?

Elizabeth P.

October 21, 2013 #

Does this book address fitting pants for mature and/or overweight women?